Y: Tell us a little about yourself and your work, your artistic style and chosen medium: anything about your art that you feel is important.
G: Hi! My name is Greta, I am 24 years old and originally from Clusone, in the province of Bergamo. I attended an Art High School in Lovere, then I moved to the School of Applied Art in the Sforzesco Castle, and then I attended a two-year course in Illustration at the Civica Scuola Arte e Messaggio in Milan. I had the opportunity to work part-time as a guard at Mudec, then moved to Bologna and broadened my professional horizons in search of new opportunities.
As far as my current artistic style is concerned, I can say that it is characterised by a very thick line, it is quite 'cartoony'; I really enjoy trying my hand at fanart of my favourite anime! I have been deeply influenced by cartoons, both Japanese and non-Japanese, such as Keroro and My Little Pony. In addition, the various artistic environments I have studied in have certainly contributed in establishing my aesthetic style; originally it was much more focused on sketches and watercolours.
Y: What prompted you to enter the world of digital art? How did you start your artistic journey? Also, what is the art scene like in the area where you live, or where you come from?
G: My family has two other artistic minds besides mine: my sister and my grandmother. The latter would have liked to enrol in art school when she was young, but unfortunately World War II broke out and she didn't have the chance to follow this dream, but she always had "the hand" and supported and inspired me a lot. My sister, unlike me, followed an educational path at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, and took me as a subject for her thesis project, and then continued her studies by taking a course for Hair & Makeup Artist at the Accademia Teatro Alla Scala; she now has an ecological resin shop on Etsy and works as a Makeup Artist.
As for me, I originally started off with traditional art: watercolour, pencil and pastels; then I slowly bought a PC graphics tablet and entered the world of digital art. In the beginning I practised a lot by drawing My Little Pony and Pokèmon fanart. Right now I am also trying my hand at handicrafts: I am learning the technique of needle felting and would like to open a shop for stickers, prints and canvas bags, as well as handmade creations. Ideally I would like to do some collaborations with my sister.
I have to say that Bologna is the perfect environment when it comes to the art scene: it is a city of artists and it's making me realise how ignorant I am about art history, which is why I am educating myself by going to museums and catching up on the historical art periods I am less informed about.
As for the art scene in Clusone, I must say that I have not had a great experience. As a child I was much more interested in reading than in drawing, plus I was fond of video games and had a small social circle. I started doing my first sketches in middle school, but enrolled in Liceo Scientifico, hoping it would support my great passion for animals. I quickly realised, during the first year, that it was not the right educational path for me, which is why I changed fields and dedicated myself to art. My parents have always supported me, they just wanted me to be happy with my life.
Y: Tell us about your course of study. Did you study something specifically related to art or did your interest stem from something else? At what level would you consider yourself right now?
G: Right now I consider myself at an Intermediate level, but I think it depends a lot on what skill is taken into consideration. I have to say that my style has developed a lot and I think I am on my way to a more advanced level, although I always consider myself ready to learn: I know I still have a lot to learn and many experiences to live.
Y: Art is a challenging, yet extremely satisfying field. What impact has it had on your life so far?
G: Speaking frankly, I have to admit that I often think it's the only field for me, although other times I feel like I am not skilled enough. Having said that, art has always given me a lot of positive feedback, even at work. It makes me extremely happy to do something that makes me feel useful, and seeing my genuine work succeed is something that excites me deeply, it's what I live for. I think art helps to get out of pain and back into the will to live: if the art I produce decorates something, like a print that decorates the wall of a room, and as a result makes someone happy, I feel satisfied. I think that's the most important thing for me: artistic expression is full of power, it's able to take away sadness from others, as well as from oneself.
Y: Does your art allow you to support yourself economically? If not, is that a goal you have or not?
G: Unfortunately, at the moment I feel I have to say no. In the distant future I would very much like to achieve this goal, I think it's a great desire for most artists. I am very realistic, and I know that in Italy it's really complex to make a living 'from art'; artists are forced to do everything themselves, from the social media manager, to the marketing manager, to the manufacturer, and so on. It is not a job like any other, to have consistent results it should be done full-time. Nevertheless, I feel deeply satisfied with the fans I have at the moment: seeing that what I create makes others enthusiastic and active in interactions with me is a great source of pride.
Y: What platforms do you use to promote your work? Do you think they need to be fixed and improved in any way? Do you think a new platform concerning only digital art could be useful?
G: At the moment I only use Instagram; I used to also use Twitter and Tumblr but over time I lost interest. The same goes for Behance, on a professional level it is very good, although it's mainly for digital illustrators, but at the moment it's full of AI generated art that users pass off as their own. Having said that, I don't think I'm the only one who sees Instagram as a bit of a lost case at the moment, it needs to be improved to follow the needs of users: it shouldn't focus so heavily on the Reel and Shop sections, it should focus on how it can facilitate the user experience.
I've recently started to try my hand at using Tik Tok, it's fun to try to understand the trends and repurpose them in your own way, especially now that the 'sliding' image format has been implemented.
I think it would be nice if there was a platform dedicated to digital art, but I don't think the average user is so inclined to consume content related only to that single field; moreover, to be honest, I think the will to develop such an application should be in the hands of big businesses, small businesses don't have the means to do so.
Y: Have you ever had problems with copyright and its management?
G: As I said before, artists are always forced to do everything themselves, including managing their copyright protection and making sure it is respected. In legal terms, I currently feel the need to inform myself and find some paths to follow; I think the ideal would be to take a course on the subject, so that I have the means and knowledge to be able to pay the necessary attention to managing the copyright of my own works.
Y: Have you ever had any experience with stolen art? How did you deal with the situation? On the same wavelength, did it ever happen to you that someone reposted your work and passed it off as their own? If you came into contact with this person, how did you deal with it?
G: Yes, it has happened to me on more than one occasion. The first time was when some guy decided to post one of my works and pass it off as his own; we talked civilly and the situation was resolved when he removed the post from Instagram. The second was much more complex. Some Filipino guys had taken a fanart of mine from the K-pop group Seventeen and wanted to use it as merchandise for a concert in Manila; unfortunately they managed to sell the products without my permission. They later removed everything, but I really had to raise a fuss to get the situation resolved and remove these guys' posts. Luckily I had the support of the online community who was on my side; in fact I was alerted by someone who was going to the concert and saw what they were doing.
Y: What is your opinion on NFTs and their impact on the digital art world? Are you in favour of Artificial Intelligences using your art to enrich their database?
G: Honestly? I think that NFTs are a format, a type of product, that is very confusing, described with big words aimed solely at confusing the interlocutor. At the moment I see them simply as yet another methodology to further pollute the planet. Personally, I prefer to commission artists directly and support them that way.
As for Generative Artificial Intelligences, they are sneaky services: just give them a prompt and they are able to create an image within a short time, but they do not follow a real artistic process, they combine works by other artists, without giving any kind of credit to their respective owners, and then generate an evil clone of other people's works, without consent or authorisation. That said, I am not too worried about them at the moment: they are not able to produce particularly precise and aesthetically satisfying works at the same time, and certain styles are not reproducible. If we ever reach a point where AI will be able to reproduce any style, I can say with certainty that their works will be lifeless anyway.
Y: What would you change about the current art scene if you could? What do you expect from the future of art?
G: Schools absolutely have to be updated, there is a great need for new courses, both in art and in general: as strange as it may sound, I think it would be very useful to teach young people how to get involved in the world of work and capitalism. The educational landscape needs to be improved, ideally there should be more events to give opportunities and more outlets to connect with the community and build connections. We would need more forums and more clear information on where to go and what to do, as well as communication and teaching courses in modern fields such as technology, economics and so on.
I have a rather negative view of the future, I honestly don't expect anything but I deeply hope that the artist profession will be seen as a real job sooner or later. Ideally, I would like to reach a point where I can support myself exclusively with that, but clearly to be able to do that it is first necessary that the profession is also regulated from an economic point of view, with acceptable fees and not 'payments in visibility'.
We would like to thank Greta very much for agreeing to do the interview, and remind you that we are at your disposal for any information or doubts regarding Copyright Protection and the Safegaurding of Creativity!